One More Present for Small Biz: New Report Points to Big 2015 Holiday Sales

Date: December 29, 2015

Despite worries about a spending slump, small businesses saw increased holiday sales in 2015.

Happy holidays, indeed.

U.S. retail sales rose 7.9 percent between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, outperforming last year’s 5.5 percent uptick, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse, which excludes auto and gas sales in its reports. 

In particular, online sales rose 20 percent and furniture sales experienced double-digit growth this year, revealing a more confident consumer base, Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of market insights at MasterCard Advisors, said in a report.

RELATED: Why big holiday spending comes as a bit of a surprise.

The rise in e-commerce “is a solid indication of an empowered and savvy shopper,” she said. “The double-digit growth in furniture sales … shows that consumers are willing and able to splurge on big ticket items.”

Women’s apparel also experienced a double-digit growth in sales. Although, men’s apparel shrunk considerably. The report noted that delayed cold weather led to pent-up demand during the holiday shopping season, in addition to lower gas prices. 

While the SpendingPulse report doesn’t include dollar amounts, the National Retail Federation expects November and December sales to rise 3.7 percent from last year, reaching $630.5 billion, The Associated Press reported.

And small businesses played a major role in this general upward swing, Quinlan told Bloomberg Business. 

“In November, we saw apparel only up 1.6 percent. But when we looked at small business apparel, it was up 15 percent year on year—so they were the ones who grabbed a lot over the Thanksgiving holiday.” 

This positive trend not only benefits small businesses but also helps bolster the U.S. economy overall, she added.

“This acceleration in spending at small businesses … it’s 44 months in a row,” she said. “It’s a strong trend, where the growth rate is larger than in total retail sales. And those are the big employers in this country.”

photo credit: Rene Schwietzke

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